Can I Drink Alcohol With Cymbalta?

The pharmacist discusses whether or not there is an interaction between Cymbalta (duloxetine) and alcohol.

Question

Can you drink alcohol socially (2-3 glasses of wine or a couple of vodka/club sodas) while taking Cymbalta?

Asked by Marcie On Jul 06, 2018

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By PharmacistAnswers Staff

On Jul 06, 2018

Mixed Drinks With PillsThere is a major interaction between Cymbalta (duloxetine) and alcohol in individuals with a history of substantial alcohol intake or abuse. There does not appear to be much of a risk with social drinkers (although caution is still advised).


According to the prescribing information for Cymbalta:

"Although Cymbalta does not increase the impairment of mental and motor skills caused by alcohol, use of Cymbalta concomitantly with heavy alcohol intake may be associated with severe liver injury. For this reason, Cymbalta should not be prescribed for patients with substantial alcohol use".

Typically, one of the biggest concerns in regard to taking medication with alcohol is the risk of additive sedation and cognitive impairment. This does not appear to be an issue with Cymbalta and intermittent alcohol consumption.


However, as seen from the passage above, there does appear to be a risk of liver injury in those with a history of substantial alcohol use. The following is more information provided by the prescribing information:

"When Cymbalta and ethanol were administered several hours apart so that peak concentrations of each would coincide, Cymbalta did not increase the impairment of mental and motor skills caused by alcohol. In the Cymbalta clinical trials database, three Cymbalta-treated patients had liver injury as manifested by ALT and total bilirubin elevations, with evidence of obstruction. Substantial intercurrent ethanol use was present in each of these cases, and this may have contributed to the abnormalities seen."

Because of the risk of liver related injuries, Cymbalta should not be taken in those with a history of substantial alcohol use. If you wish to drink socially while taking Cymbalta, it would be prudent to discuss with your doctor as they have your complete medical history. You may also want to have your liver function tested if you are concerned.

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Brian Staiger Pharm.D

Dr. Brian Staiger is a licensed pharmacist in New York State and the founder of PharmacistAnswers.com. He graduated from the University At Buffalo with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2010. He has been featured in numerous publications including the Huffington Post as well as a variety of health and pharmacy-related blogs. Please feel free to reach out to him directly if you have any inquiries or want to connect! He's answered thousands of medication and pharmacy-related questions and he's ready to answer yours! Brian.Staiger@PharmacistAnswers.com Office: 716-389-3076

About Cymbalta (Duloxetine)

Cymbalta (duloxetine) is an antidepressant, belonging to the Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor class, which work by inhibiting the reuptake of both serotonin and norepinephrine and are often referred to as a 'dual' inhibitors. Cymbalta has been shown to be effective in treating symptoms of depression as well as painful neuropathy due to the effects on norepinephrine. Like most antidepressants, Cymbalta can take 4 to 12 weeks to reach full effect and should be taken consistently. Cymbalta is generally dosed once daily and can be administered without regard to meals.

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